Asaph the Jew

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Asaph the Jew (Hebrew: אסף היהודי, Assaf HaYehudi), also known as Asaph ben Berechiah and Asaph Judaeus, was the first Hebrew medical writer.[1] He lived somewhere from the 3rd to the 7th century AD,[1] corresponding to the post-Talmudic period. His work, Sefer Refuot (English: Book of Medicines), was one of the most important preserved Hebrew medical works.[2] The Oath of Asaph resembles the Oath of Hippocrates[1] but ethically surpasses it (debatable!).[3] It was taken by medical students at their graduation.[4]

The Israeli hospital Assaf HaRofeh is named after him.


  1. ^ a b c Rosner, Fred (1995). "Oath of Asaph". Medicine in the Bible and the Talmud: Selections from Classical Jewish Sources. KTAV Publishing House. pp. 182–186. ISBN 9780881255065. 
  2. ^ Shatzmiller, Joseph (1994). Jews, Medicine, and Medieval Society. University of California Press. p. 11. ISBN 9780520080591. 
  3. ^ Vaisrub, Samuel; A. Denman, Michael; Naparstek, Yaakov; Gilon, Dan (2008). "Medicine". Encyclopaedia Judaica. The Gale Group. 
  4. ^ "Oath of Asaph". Encyclopedia of Bioethics. The Gale Group Inc. 2004.